Sunday March 5, 2017 was a sad, sad day for love metal fans everywhere as Finnish superstars HIM announced they would be calling it a day after 26 years. Formed in 1991 by frontman Ville Valo and bassist Mikko ‘Mige’ Paananen under His Infernal Majesty. Following a brief hiatus in 1993, the band went on to create not only a new genre but a movement across the world after their reincarnation in 1995!
They have an impressive back catalogue beginning with 1996’s EP 666 Ways to Love: Prologue, Greatest Love Songs Vol 666 became their first full length album in 1997 before being followed up by 2000’s Razorblade Romance. 2001 saw the band release Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights which was in turn followed by Love Metal in 2003. March 2004 saw the release of And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997-2004 following their departure from label BMG. Studio album number 5, Dark Light came in 2005 and brought tracks Wings Of A Butterfly and Vampire Heart, two of the most well-known songs in the band’s entire catalogue. The recording of album six Venus Doom was plagued by frontman Ville’s personal battles but eventually released in September of 2007. 2010 saw the release of Screamworks: Love In Theory and Practice which was the first that Ville worked on completely sober, this record was followed by Tears On Tape in 2013 which turned out to be the final record.
HIM are the most successful Finnish band on a global scale, with multiple sold out tours around the world, with over six million albums sold, seven platinum and more than ten gold records. The band’s music and logo have appeared in various films and TV shows with highlights being Transformers, The Thirteenth Floor and LA Ink.
The band’s infamous ‘heartagram’ logo which was used as the cover for 2003’s Love Metal album is not only used by and permanently tattooed on fans worldwide but also countless people who may not have even heard of HIM, it is that well recognised and loved, a fact that is quite insane when you remember that Ville came up with it on his twentieth birthday.
If we were to go into full detail of all of HIM’s history and achievements, we would be here forever (not that we wouldn’t mind that, but I know people have lives to live and things to do) so we’ll leave the history lesson there and take a look at some of your memories and HIM stories. We received a tremendous amount so here are a select few;
Mitch Emery says; “Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell.”
Those words where the first thing that ever struck me about HIM, emblazoned to front man Ville Valo’s jacket as he seductively moaned his way through a stunning rendition of ‘Gone With The Sin’ in his trademark deep, sultry tones.
HIM to me will never stop being the band that turned me to the darker side of rock music. The band who showed me you could wear all black and play the heaviest, most doom laden tracks, without a single syllable of screaming to be found. One of the bands that have made me the man I am today.
HIM may be soon to end, but their legacy will remain immortal.
Even when all our pretty faces are in hell, His Infernal Majesty will still rule over the world above.”
Nico Venere; “HIM, I really owe so much to this band, I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. I started smoking because of Valo, I dressed great because of Valo. (The OG of the fingerless gloves and beanie combo) They change my outlook of life, even down to the way I treat and respect woman. This is the band that taught me about life, love and death. The main soundtrack to my life, and wear the heartagram with pride.”
Charlotte Martin; “Ever since I was young I fell into the world of alternative music with a bang, spoon fed the likes of Sisters of Mercy, The Cure and Siouxsie and The Banshees (yum!) I always had a strong love for music with a darker edge, and as I became older I began to find bands myself and develop an interest in them all of my own.
From this I found bands such as My Chemical Romance, Green Day and HIM. The first ever HIM song I heard must have been ‘Vampire Heart’ off the 2005 album Razorblade Romance, and fell in love instantly. It was the perfect mix of dark, melodic and heavy with flashes of light mixed throughout. As I continued to listen to more and more of their stuff I found myself become further entranced by Ville Valo’s incredibly unusual voice, romantic lyrics and the intricacies of their different songs., though my favourite has always been either ‘Wicked Game’ or ‘Funeral of Hearts’.
Throughout the years their songs have offered me comfort in the bad times and joy in the good, they’ve inspired my different creative passages, from poetry to photography, influenced by the dark aesthetic with a softer twist that HIM had made their own, and I really admire that despite different trends coming and going, they have always had their own style and stuck to who they are. They’re an incredible band and I’m very sad that their time together is coming to end, however I can only hope that going forward, they are going to continue down their own routes following what they love.
One of my favourite stories is how one of my friends got knocked out at one of their Manchester shows by a flying shoe, she came round afterwards to the band checking she hadn’t died – and to be honest, that just proves to me, that as well as making incredible music, they’re good people which makes me even happier having supported their music; despite having not seen HIM live before, I’m very much looking forward to seeing them for once last time and saying goodbye to one of the bands that has influenced me most over the years.
But, sadness aside, their music will live on, and hopefully from the ashes of them, some very interesting solo projects will emerge.
Kayleigh Scott; “I think I was about 8 or 9 years old, I remember my mum getting ready to go to a gig and I remembered seeing gigs on the T.V. And knowing I really wanted to go to one. I asked my mum as she was getting ready she was listening to a song I had heard on Kerrang! Before but this it was the full album, I was singing along to that the song knew (Buried Alive By Love) was begging her to let me go but she told me it was to far away… if I remember correctly it was in Birmingham? But she always told me that she would let me go with her if they came closer. Over the years I listened to more of their music and fell in love with the band, I also checked the ticket sites all the time hoping they would come soon! But they never did. I my 18th birthday I got a Heartagram on my wrist to symbolise my love for band and my bond with my mother the one who got me into the band. Then in 2013 I couldn’t believe it! 10 years after I had asked my mum if I could go with her I could finally go! The experience was incredible! The wait was worth it, I was so happy! I remember going to a house party the day before and not sleeping so I was awake for 40+ hours not to mention I got to the queue at about midday and I was still drunk!, But it was still and always be one of the best gigs I have been to!”
Robbert van Harskamp; “The first time I heard HIM was when I was around 10 years old. It was The Funeral Of Hearts and right after that, I heard Join Me In Death. They were both played at a Dutch music show on TV. Somehow, at this young age, the music just hypnotised me; that beautiful voice, that guitar play, that videoclip, I just kept on looking and listening.
A time later, I was at a friends house and I saw a symbol I recognised on a CD, it was the Heartagram on the Love Metal CD. I asked him about the band and he said I could borrow his HIM CDs. I copied the CDs to listen to them and fell more in love with it than I had ever been with anything. Later I bought my first CD ever, this was And Love Said No: Greatest Hits. I bought merchandise and kept falling more in love with the band.
Years later in 2009, I saw them for the first time and it was amazing. Linde threw his guitar pick in my eye and I had never been more happy. Now at the age of 25, HIM helped me through a lot. Things like automutilation, the death of my grandpa, a really heavy break up from a cheating girlfriend of three years… So you can say that this band is more than music, it is a huge part of me and I’m happy I could be a part of it.”
Lucy Matusik; “I cannot believe that the band I grew up with, my very first own CD that I got by my parents and the band that learnt me to love words, music and poetry is breaking up and having a Farewell tour. I will miss them dearly. They will own my heart forever, because there are not many memories I gathered from my childhood. But I clearly remember when I was six, my parents returned home and my mum gave me my very first CD – Razorblade Romance. I was so excited and in a matter of minutes I was hooked. It went on for months of listening to that record at home and my parents were going nuts. But I was six and wholeheartedly loved HIM. I was dancing to Join Me in Death and I can still remember how I felt and loved it.
I love you and I thank you for everything. For all my memories.”
Andrew Edwards; “Sigillum Diaboli .that’s my favourite song, went to the 1st download festival to see them back in the early 2000s. 1st heard about them from the CKY videos when I was in school
Great band and can’t believe they are splitting up. Razorblade romance is a great album”
Lizi Birt – “I first found HIM at quite a young age, I believe the first song I heard was Join Me In Death and the imagery of the video with the snow, elegantly dressed cast and just Ville’s unique and beautiful vocals drew me in. HIM got me started on my journey into the alternative music world and have some of the most easy listening songs going, which have become the soundtrack to my life in keeping me calm before exams, there is just something so soothing about HIM’s music. While I have yet to see HIM, I am lucky to be able to see them on their final tour and share in the magic one last time.”
Again those were just a selection of comments and memories from all you loyal HIM fans out there. Thank you to everyone who submitted any.
But the biggest thank you must go to Ville Valo, Mikko Paananen, Mikko Linström, Janne Puurtinen, Jukka Kröger, Sami Jokilehto, Juha Tarvonen, Oki, Antto Melasniemi, Juhana Rantala, Jussi-Mikko Salminen and Mika Karppinen.
We thank you for everything HIM and we love you.